Toulon’s owner Mourad Boudjellal revealed on Monday that Steffon Armitage had made a request to leave the French club so that he could return home to England.
In addition to this revelation, Boudjellal also claimed that the 30-year-old flanker had been in contact with England coach Eddie Jones and that the Australian had urged him to make the move if he wanted to be considered for international duty.
However, Jones has since denied that such an interaction ever took place.
“Not that I know of,” said Jones when asked by ESPN if he had spoke to Armitage. “People have false Facebook posts and false Twitter accounts, so I suppose you can have a false phone call,” added the 56-year-old coach.
“I don’t control him. It’s got nothing to do with me. He is not eligible to play for England.”
Jones went on to discredit Boudjellal’s reliability as a source by joking about the French businessman’s association with the comic book industry.
“You’ve got to remember the bloke who makes the comments writes comic books. I will leave it at that,” he said.
“I don’t know whether he writes them or sells them but he has made plenty of money out of them. Batman and Robin won’t be in the team.”
In an interview with BBC Sport however, Jones did say that he would be willing to consider Armitage for a place in the set-up if he was eligible.
“I haven’t had a conversation with him,” Jones said. “But, if he’s eligible to play for England and in form I will definitely look at him”.
Regardless of Armitage’s reason’s for the move and Jones’s level of interest in him, there are likely to be plenty of clubs in the English Premiership scoping the player out.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young confirmed the Coventry club’s interest in Armitage to the BBC, although he too claimed that there had been no contact between the parties.
“We would certainly be interested in bringing somebody like Steffon back,” said Young. “But we have had no contact with Toulon at all and, until that becomes a reality, we’ve nothing to comment on”.
“We know that Steffon’s agent is enquiring in the Premiership. Yes, we would be interested but, at what levels, we don’t know, and he’s a Toulon player at this time”.